X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

Director: Simon Kinberg

Writer: John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum (Screenplay) Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (Comic Book)

Starring: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee

 

Plot: Jean Grey begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.


Tagline – The Phoenix will rise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Forgettable

 

Story: X-Men: Dark Phoenix starts in the world where Charles Xavier’s (McAvoy) group of X-Men, Mystique (Lawrence), Beast (Hoult), Jean Grey (Turner), Scott (Sheridan), Storm (Shipp), Quicksilver (Peters) and Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee) are celebrated around the world for their efforts to rescue people where normal humans can’t reach, with their latest mission taking them to space, where Jean Grey gets infected by an unknown lifeforce.

Back on Earth Jean struggles to control this new power which will lead to tragic consequences with her needing to turn to Erik (Fassbender) for advice before being visited by the mysterious Vuk (Chastain) that wants the power within her.

 

Thoughts on X-Men: Dark Phoenix

 

Characters – Jean Grey is our central character in this film, we see how she has a troubled childhood, before being welcomed to the school, she has learnt to control her powers which become enhanced with the incident, to a level she can’t control anymore. Jean is left wondering who she can trust, Charles, Erik or Vuk, just to find her place in the world. Charles Xavier has seen his school become the place the President turns to, this has made him reckless with the behaviour, willing to risk them when he doesn’t need to, he must face the reality that his school will always be looked at differently and that he hasn’t always done thing correctly. Erik has once again returned to a quiet life, this time helping mutants have a place away from the world, he will do the best to stop any conflict until he learns what has happened.  Mystique continues to have the ability to question what Charles is doing, she wants to keep everybody safe, even if it means going against everything Charles is thinking. Beast is still believing in Charles, until the tragedy hits home, forcing him to question what is best for the students in the school and mutants alike. Scott does play the only character that Jean loves, he can help at times when she starts to lose control, while being one of the few people she wants to protect from the danger she is becoming. Storm, Quicksilver and Nightcrawler complete the X-Men team which sees him just being extra members of the fight for the most part. Vuk is the mysterious being that is searching for the power that has taken over Jean, she is the leader of a group that want this power for their own destructive motivations.

PerformancesThis film has a mix of performances, Sophie Turner does continue to struggle in the leading role, she just never manages to convince with the unsure factor of how she is feeling through the film. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are usually the standouts in these films, but they both don’t get to make the impact they have in the past. Nicolas Hoult does have good moments, but we would have liked more from him. Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp and Kodi Smit-McPhee do everything asked in their roles, while Jessica Chastain seems to be wasted in the villainous role.

StoryThe story shows us a world where mutants are a welcome and used to help sav people around the world, when one of these missions goes wrong the mutants show the danger they can bring to the world, when one gets infected with an unknown power which makes them the most powerful person in the world, while a new group wants that power. It is nice to see the story continue to show how the world has changed from the events in the previous films, even if it does throw a lot of the timeline out the window. We do follow certain lines that we did follow in The Last Stand too, which didn’t feel fresh, the script does have some awful lines which doesn’t help either. Now on the positive side of the story, we do get to flip Charles’s characters showing that he isn’t the all positive figure, it does make him the focus of the story at times though, we do get to see some of the other X-Men unleash their powers is nice to see too. This could easily be one of the weakest stories in the X-Men universe and you can see just how difficult it was.

Action/Sci-FiThe action in the film does have a couple of entertaining moments that do get to see just how powerful each mutant can be when unleashed to their full powers. We do hit new levels for the sci-fi elements as we see the new enemy and power.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us the best looking settings, most action sequences actually feel like they are just on sets, never inside an environment.

Special EffectsThe effect in the film give us a weird look to the design of the power that is coming over Jean, which does work in places, though it doesn’t look overly interesting in when it comes to the wounds.


Scene of the Movie –
The train sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We should be called X-Women.

Final ThoughtsThis is a forgettable addition to the X-Men franchise, with simple acting and mostly safe actions.

 

Overall: Basic-Men

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – XXX 2 The Next Level (2005)

casting card

 

Plot: Darius Stone, a new agent in the XXX program, is sent to Washington, DC to defuse a power struggle amongst national leaders.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Poor Sequel

 

Story: XXX 2: The Next Level starts as the NSA base with Agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) is stationed meaning they need to find themselves a new XXX that is deadlier than the previous one. The man they turn to is Lieutenant Darius Stone (Cube) who is currently behind bars.

When all the government start searching for Darius and Gibbons they find themselves hunted down by General Deckert (Dafoe) making this a personal situation after he takes down Gibbons. Darius must use all of his training to uncover the truth with Deckeret after him and Agent Steele (Speedman) not knowing what he is walking into.

XXX 2: The Next Level is a sequel to a standard action film only it doesn’t bring back the lead actor and has to find a quick excuse to fit a new hero into the film and suddenly they are all one unit of former soldiers and everything stays within the US. This doesn’t really achieve what the first film does and ends up just being a plain action film that story comes off flat.

 

Actor Review

 

Willem Dafoe: General George Deckert is our main bad guy this time, he is the sectary of Defence that is out to us the NSA project as a cover up for his master plan which means he has to take out all of his former men including Gibbons and Stone. Willem as a villain what a surprise there where he is just solid in this role.

Samuel L Jackson: Agent Augustus Gibbons has his base attacked leading him to find a new X agent where he turns to one of his old soldiers as we learn a lot more about the back story behind this character this time. Samuel is solid in this role but it feels like it could just have been pay check for him.

Ice Cube: Darius Stone is the new agent X he is a former soldier that has been locked up but after Gibbon breaks him out he puts all of his skills to use to uncover the truth as the battle comes to home ground in America. Ice doesn’t reach the levels of Vin as you never feel he could have been a soldier.

Scott Speedman: Agent Kyle Steele is the man investigating the attack on the NSA but as he learns more about the story he works himself with Darius to protect the nation. Scott is solid but doesn’t make that big of an impact in the story.

Support Cast: XXX 2: The Next Level much like the original has your typical supporting cast but I do feel this one does a larger range on the whole sidekick side of the story.

Director Review: Lee TamahoriLee gives us a sequel that doesn’t reach the levels of the original but having to fast track a new hero into the story didn’t help.

 

Action: XXX 2: The Next Level has very basic action being used throughout without being anything fresh.

Adventure: XXX 2: The Next Level lose the adventure side of the story which doesn’t help the ideas in the film.

Thriller: XXX 2: The Next Level should keep us on the edge but just doesn’t pull us in anymore.

Settings: XXX 2: The Next Level keeps all the action in America which doesn’t help the idea in the film because of the adventure angle.
Special Effects
: XXX 2: The Next Level has a few solid special effects but also a laughable effects.

Suggestion: XXX 2: The Next Level is one to most likely miss, it doesn’t add anything to the original and almost comes off as a parody of the first. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: No

Worst Part: Car on the train tracks.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $87 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: The greatest threat to our nation comes from within.

 

Overall: Terrible sequel really.

Ratingcard

 

 

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

casting cardDirector: Bryan Singer

Writer: Simon Kinberg (Screenplay) Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris (Story)

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Luca Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy

 

Plot: With the emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappoint Sequel

 

Story: X-Men: Apocalypse starts as we see a fail ritual to bring Apocalypse alive in ancient Egyptian, move forward to 1981 we get to meet our fresh set of mutants with Scott Summers/ Cyclops (Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Smit-McPhee), Angel (Hardy), Jean Grey (Turner) and Storm (Shipp). Scott being the brother of Havok (Till) gets enrolled in Professor Xavier’s (McAvoy) school while Magneto (Fassbender) is living a normal life back in Poland.

It isn’t long until Apocalypse is being raised from the dead with the higher power mutants being able to sense him rising. With Magneto driven to the man he didn’t want to live anymore he unleashes his rage, while Professor Xavier seeks an old friend Moira Mactaggert (Byrne) for answers to the rising of Apocalypse.

Apocalypse builds himself an army of mutants with increased powers as he searches for the most powerful mutants to help him reclaim the Earth that was once his with Magneto, Storm, Angel and Psylocke (Munn) by his side. It is up to Professor Xavier to take his student into battle to stop the end of the world.

X-Men: Apocalypse is yet another restart timeline X-Men movie that for some reason tries to reference future outings but also erasing other moments. This just confuses the timelines but as for it being a solo story you do need to have seen the previous films to understand certain moments. The introducing of younger versions of the mutants we have known in previous films but they all seem suddenly powerful enough to handle themselves in a fight. We get the same odd Professor X and Magneto dealing with what they want without agreeing. In fairness this is just another wildly over the top X-Men movie that can be enjoy from a casual point of view but for story telling it’s just not up to the standard we are used to.

 

Actor Review

 

James McAvoy: Professor Charles Xavier is now just trying to just teach the young mutants to deal with their mutant powers trying to keep peace between the two kinds. He ends up having to come face to face with an enemy that is controlling his closest friend/enemy Magneto. James is solid but just doesn’t give us the character we fully enjoy.

Michael Fassbender: Magneto is now trying to live a normal life in Poland, he has started a family but when his identity becomes apparent tragedy strikes and we see Magneto want vengeance against the human race as he stands next to Apocalypse. This is the best and most tragic back story Magneto has ever had making him the best youngster version we have seen before. Michael is one of the stars of the show with his performance but the character does seem to get forgotten in the second half of the movie.

Jennifer Lawrence: Mystique is now a lone soldier trying to help mutants from around the world, she isn’t being bad just continuing to want to make sure all mutants get treated equal. Jennifer continues her paycheck franchise performances here never really being stand-out.

Oscar Isaac: Apocalypse is the first mutant and the all-powerful one at that, he has the ability to enhance the powers of other mutants. He wants to destroy the world bringing it back to the place where people respected and worshiped him, he puts together a team of what he sees as the strongest mutants to make this happen. Oscar is solid in this role but it could be fair to say anyone could have had this role.

Support Cast: X-Men: Apocalypse has a massive supporting cast with Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Evan Peters and Kodi Smit-McPhee all gives us good performance but most of the rest struggle to make an impact with a lot playing the younger versions of the pre-existing characters and simply not hitting the levels of the previous outings.

Director Review: Bryan SingerBryan goes bigger yet again with this outing with more characters and more timelines to pull together but I do feel this goes one step too far.

 

Action: X-Men: Apocalypse has plenty of wild over the top action moments but the destruction just seems too much and unnecessary.

Adventure: X-Men: Apocalypse throws our characters into an adventure defend the world like we have seen before.

Sci-Fi: X-Men: Apocalypse has all of the different mutant powers to give us the fight we are sitting through.

Settings: X-Men: Apocalypse has the dam setting for one setting which is good connecting back to previous films but otherwise it is jut cities randomly being destroyed.
Special Effects
: X-Men: Apocalypse is filled with the special effects you would expect without being anything really fresh.

Suggestion: X-Men: Apocalypse is one for the fans of the series to watch, this isn’t one you can just pick up without knowing previous version of the film. (Franchise Fans)

 

Best Part: Quicksilver, give this guy his own movie.

Worst Part: Poor young casting of the popular characters.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Most likely.

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 2 Hour 24 Minutes

Tagline: Only the strong will survive

 

Overall: One sequel too far that is just too much explosions and poor casting.

Ratingcard

 

 

Fantastic Four (2015)

lgoDirector: Josh Trank

Writer: Simon Kinberg, Jeremy Slater, Josh Trank (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Characters)

Starring: Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E Cathey, Tim Blake Nelson

Plot: Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark Origin Story Stuck Behind the Established Heroes

Story: Fantastic Four starts with a young Reed Richards dreaming of being the first person to teleport people. We continue to meet the young Fantastic Four with Ben Grimm also inside in Reed’s class who is from a dysfunctional family whoo helps Reed with his teleporter. Move forward 7 years and Reed (Teller) and Ben (Bell) have been working on improving the teleporter looking to improve upon the design.

Reed and Ben impress enough to get a full scholarship to the Baxter academy under Dr Franklin Storm (Cathey) where they meet his daughter Sue (Mara). Franklin calls to his former mastermind who started the idea Victor Von Doom (Kebbell) who would need to work with Reed to make this teleporter work. Franklin also has a son Johnny (Jordan) who has been pushing away from the idea. We know have the Fantastic Five, wait that isn’t the name of the film.

When the invention works Reed, Ben, Johnny and Victor decide to use the device on themselves with only Sue running the controls, what the boys discover could be the biggest discovery in history but disaster strikes when Victor gets killed with the imploding planetary discovery.

The four surviving members of the team come back the learn they have new abilities, Reed gains stretching abilities, Sue can become invisible, Johnny becomes a human torch and Ben becomes the Thing. While Reed escapes the remaining members are used by the military as they look to learn more about the planet they visited.

When the team return to the planet they find Victor still alive but evolved into Dr Doom who decides to make the battle against the human race personal as they keep invading his own world and it is up to the Fantastic Four to save the say.

Fantastic Four is a film that all I have heard was bad things about but as I know nothing about the comic books and skip the first couple of outings the film tried I decided to give it a go. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed the most part of the film, I liked how the story was darker than the most of the Marvel Universe. With the start of the positive I will have to look at the negative too, I do feel like the ending was rushed and from what I understand Dr Doom is meant to be one of the big villains who got beaten way too easily. In the end this was an origin story to the next chapter of their story that has issues but isn’t as bad as it is being made out to be. (6/10)

Actor Review

Miles Teller: Reed Richards is the mastermind who gets the final details to teleportation down leading to him getting a chance to work for an institute. He stays loyal to his best friend but when he tests his own machine with his newly formed team he gains a new ability he can stretch. Miles gave a performance that could be talked about for years in Whiplash but this just feels very average from the young starlet. (5/10)reed

Michael B Jordan: Johnny Storm is the brash son of the man giving the men a chance to work on the teleportation devices, he ends up working with his engineering skills, but after going on the trip he turns into the human fireball. Michael gives a solid performance but he just doesn’t get the screen time he needed. (6/10)johnny

Kate Mara: Sue Storm is working on the teleportation idea but doesn’t go on the mission into the teleporter, but she still gets effected by the consequences when she gains the ability to become invisible. Kate gives an average performance but I feel they make her character very plain giving her little to work with. (5/10)sue

Jamie Bell: Ben Grimm/The Thing is the engineer best friend from childhood of Reed who helps working on the teleporter but after the experiment he ends up becoming the Thing when the rocks become part of his structure. Jamie does a solid job but we don’t learn enough about him even though he is in the story from the very start. (6/10)thing

Toby Kebbell: Victor Von Doom/Dr Doom as Victor he works with the rest on the teleporter, but when he gets killed on the mission it isn’t the end of his story as he returns only to have evolved to, but he is a killing machine hell bent on revenge against the human race. Toby is fast turning into the go to guy for villains in franchises and I liked his version of Dr Doom, but we don’t see enough of it. (6/10)

Support Cast: Fantastic Four has a very comic book central military supporting cast that is easily forgettable.

Director Review: Josh TrankJosh gives us a good build but too quick of a finish, but with all the talk about the troubles it is hard to give him a rating. (NA/10)

Action: Fantastic Four really doesn’t have much action until final fight which mostly feels rushed. (5/10)

Sci-Fi: Fantastic Four has a lot of technical talk which mostly goes over the head but it does work for the fields the characters are in. (7/10)

Settings: Fantastic Four has pretty much only a couple of settings, the lab and the random planet they end up going too, these actually work for how the film unfolds. (7/10)
Special Effects: Fantastic Four does improve on the special effects from the original, well the clips I have seen, the stand out here has to be The Thing creation looking very good. (7/10)

Suggestion: Fantastic Four is one for the comic book fans to try, as I am getting tired of the superhero genre it was nice seeing a dark film. (Comic Book Fans Try)

Best Part: It feels darker than most superhero films around.

Worst Part: Ends to quick.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Left open for one but people have been slamming the film.

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Change is coming.

Overall: Solid Comic Book Film That is Darker than Marvel.

Rating 65

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

logoDirector: Bryan Singer

Writer: Simon Kinberg (Screenplay) Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn (Story)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Daniel Cudmore

 

Plot: Sentinels, robots that were created for the purpose of hunting down mutants were released in 1973. 50 Years later the Sentinels would also hunt humans who aid mutants. Charles Xavier (Stewart) and his X-Men try their best to deal with the Sentinels but they are able to adapt and deal with all mutant abilities. Charles decides to go back in time and change things. He asks Kitty Pryde (Page) who can send a person’s consciousness into the person’s past to send him but she can only send someone back a few weeks because if she sends someone back further it could harm them. Logan (Jackman) decides to go back himself because he might be able to withstand it. Charles tells him that it’s Mystique (Lawrence) who’s responsible because when she learned about eh Sentinels she sought out Bollivar Trask (Dinklage) the man who created them and killed him. She would be caught and studied and her ability to change was somehow added to the Sentinels which is why they can adapt. Logan must go to the younger Charles (McAvoy) and ask him to help; problem is that he was despondent at that time and without his powers because he took a drug which allows him to walk but takes away his powers. Logan is also told to find Magneto (Fassbender).

 

Verdict: X-Men Meets Terminator

 

Story: First off let’s look at how the balance between two different time zones works, the 1970s world is created well and using plenty of references from the previous films, while the modern world is very dark, full of death. These two meet well and without confusing bounce between very easily. The whole let’s stop the government from creating something to stop mutants for seemingly no reason feels done before but how it is executed works well. What plays out like just another X-Men film ups the stakes again from previous instalments and builds on the smarter story telling of ‘X-Men: First Class’ using the characters from the original trilogy, in what must be the first reboot reunion cast film. The story is very enjoyable and easy to follow and using time travel can sometimes get confusing this doesn’t let that happen as we learn more about the origins of other mutants including Mystique, Quicksilver and Beast. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Hugh Jackman: Wolverine with his healing ability he goes back in time, well his mind at least, he knows about certain mutant abilities the others in the past are unaware of and gets to enjoy the fun that involved him mocking the people that helped him in the future. Good performance from Hugh but wouldn’t expect anything less from him. (9/10)

 wolverine

James McAvoy: Charles Xavier struggling to deal with the pain from the finale of the previous film, he has sacrificed his powers to walk, but lost his fight to save other mutants struggling. Logan helps restore his faith and fight for what is right. Good performance from James showing the struggle a man has between his own personally wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. (8/10)

mcavoy

Michael Fassbender: Erik Lehnsher locked up for assignation of JFK we are left to wonder if he has changed his ways since the last encounter in Cuba, he soon shows his true colours and will do anything to get the upper hand in the war with humans. Good performance from Michael who gets to let loose after all his serious roles. (8/10)

 eric

Jennifer Lawrence: Mystique the shape shifting mutant who can become anyone and has caused the effects that have created the dark future. She is still torn between Charles and Erik fights and we are left to guess what side she will pick. Good performance from Jennifer showing she really is the golden girl of Hollywood right now. (8/10)

 mystique

Nicolas Hoult: Beast the only mutant who has stayed loyal to Charles who spends his time looking after his estate while treating him for his pain. Beast shows his colours when he is tested and puts everything into fighting for what is right. Good performance from Nicolas showing he is a rising force in Hollywood. (8/10)

 beast

Ellen Page: Kitty Pryde uses her ability to send Logan mind back in time. Only a small role that is a big part, as she spends the whole film holding Logan’s mind in time. (7/10)

 

Peter Dinklage: Doctor Bolivar Trask the creator of the Sentinels who wants to unleash them to stop mutants, but his true motive is never really explained. Good performance from Peter who is always great in everything. (8/10)

 dinklage

Evan Peters: Quicksilver a young mutant with super speed, he has been using his powers for his own personal gain but when a chance to break Erik out comes up he jumps at the chance to help. Good performance who basically steals the scenes he is in even though he is only in a few. (9/10)

 quciksilver

Patrick Stewart: Profession Xavier the older version of the man who has come up with the plan to send someone back in time to stop what has been happening. Good supporting role as most of the story looks at his older self. (7/10)

 

Ian McKellen: Magneto like Patrick Stewart this is the older version of the character who has joined forces with his old enemy to stop their demise by the Sentinels. Good supporting role where we finally sees his good side. (7/10)

magneto

Director Review: Bryan Singer – Good direction to balance both time eras into one story without confusing and keeping the same level of seriousness and light humour bought into the series by Matthew Vaughn. (8/10)

 

Action: Great action be it in either time eras that also keep up the dark tone being shown by comic book films. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: The mixing of time eras is well executed and helps the story unfold to the next level. (9/10)

Superhero: Brilliant superhero film that uses many of people’s favourites throughout the film even if it is just a small cameo, blink and you may miss one or two. (10/10)

Settings: Each setting builds the story up, the modern dark destructed cities from the war and the past settings are recreated with good authenticity. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Great effects used throughout but there are a couple of clear blue screen back drops involving Mystique. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to be watching it is full of action, both dark and easy to watch along with some very good humour moments and nods to previous films. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Quicksilver during the prison escape.

Worst Part: The obvious time travel issues.

Action Scene Of The Film: The modern time final attack

Funniest Scene: Logan’s first meeting with young Charles.

Kill Of The Film: Most of the modern ones.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes one is planned.

Post Credits Scene: Yes

Similar Too: Terminator

 

Oscar Chances: Unlikely

Box Office: $351,386,660 (So Far)

Budget: $200 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes.

Tagline: His Past, Our Future

 

Overall: Logan the New Terminator Sent Back to Stop a Future Apocalypse

Rating 91